Spain and Portugal have entered an agreement for the development of a constellation of Earth observation satellites. This constellation will consist of 16 microsatellites with a weight ranging from 20 to 30 kilograms each, which will be able to provide data about any place on Earth every three hours. In this regard, the minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, stated that his constellation, which will complement the Copernicus satellites of the European Union (EU), may be used for applications that require high-frequency imaging such as firefighting and the mitigation of the effects of natural disasters.
Each of the two countries will be expected to independently build and operate half of the satellites of the Atlantic Constellation, which will involve a total investment of 60 million euros thanks to the funds of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
The agreement has been reached as part of the XXXIII Spanish-Portuguese summit and there are already another five countries interested in joining: United Kingdom, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Norway. The addition of more countries will allow an increase in the data rate up to the point where satellite information is available every hour, improving the performance of the system without incurring a higher cost for the participating states.
This initiative is included as part of the Aerospace Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE), coordinated by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, which will allocate over 4.5 billion euros to foster science and innovation in the aerospace sector.